For every 12 homicides committed in the United States 1 of them involves a juvenile offender (Howard N. Snyder, Juvenile Offenders and Victims, 2006). Although most American don’t realize it, juvenile homicide is a problem in the United States that needs to be fixed. Even though statistics show that the homicide rate done by juveniles is at its lowest rate since the early 1980’s it is still a problem. Juvenile homicide has lowered in the recent years, but the fact that it still happens is chilling to most Americans. Most Americans believe that juveniles who show early signs of deviant acts are not a big deal, however if we try and help those juveniles, we can possibly stop them from committing homicidal acts when they get older. In fact the social learning theory, general strain theory, and social control theory point to the idea that juvenile homicide can be prevented.
Before learning about why juveniles commit homicide, who the juvenile homicide offenders are, and what causes juvenile homicide, it is crucial to understand the basic statistics of juvenile homicide in the United States. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in 1993 there was the largest number of juvenile homicide offenders being 14.4 per 100,000 juvenile United States citizens. Since then, the number of juvenile homicide offenders started to decline until it was the lowest in 2004 where it was 77% less than the 1993 peak (still was at 3.2 per 100,000 citizens) (Stastical Briefing Book, 2010). All of this information shows that juveniles are committing homicide but what we need to find out is how to tell who they are, what they are like, and why they do these things and then we can try to reduce the homicide rate involving juvenile offenders.
Who are they?
When trying to reduce the problem of juvenile homicide it is important to understand who the juveniles are that are most likely to commit homicide. In the recent years many criminologists have used three different demographics used to describe juvenile homicide offenders. Those are: juvenile gang members, between 15-17 years in age, and mostly males (Directorate, 2002).
They are often gang members; when gangs recruit members to join their gang they will often target the young, because they can mold them to believe that the gang is the main thing in their life. If they get in the gang they are more likely to begin to carry guns, and deal drugs compared to juveniles who are not gang members. In data gathered from interviews of arrested juveniles in the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) study, The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states that juvenile gang members are reasonably more likely to carry a gun on a day to day basis compared to the juveniles which are not involved in gangs (31% percent compared to 20%) (James C. Howell, 1999). With saying that, James C. Howell, and Scott R. Decker found that the juvenile homicide problem in St....